Family Guy Series 4
Fat Stewie, Mr. Weed, Tom and Jake Tucker, Lethal Lois, 
Cleveland, and Mort Goldman

Mezco was quiet early in 2005.  Lots of possibilities to come later in the year, but the first six months had very little activity, at least on the pegs.

Ah, but then Hellboy figures hit - and then The Goon.  In the mix was the 18" Peter and Stewie, Family Guy series 3, and three Family Guy boxed sets.  Follow it up with South Park series 1 (hitting stores right now), and tonight's review, Family Guy series 4, and you have a VERY packed second half of the year.

Mezco just isn't doing it with quantity right now, they're doing it with quality.  Everyone of these lines looks to be a winner, with several of them (and individual figures from them) likely to show up on top ten lists all over the place come January.

The Family Guy series has been a terrific hit for them, and with a fourth series on the pegs, and a fifth announced for next spring, fans are hopeful this will be a line that lasts a good long time.  Series 4 follows the usual pattern: one variant of either Stewie or Peter (this time it's Fat Stewie), one more main family variant (this time it's Lethal Lois), one of our main group of buddies (Cleveland in this set) and a couple B characters (Mr. Weed and Tom Tucker fill the role).

These are showing up at Hot Topics, Media Play, Sam Goody and Suncoast right now.  You can also find them online at a number of my sponsors, listed below.

Two of the six in this set are episode specific - Lethal Lois from "Lethal Weapons", and XXXL Stewie from "He's too sexy for his fat".  There are also variants of course - check the section on Things To Watch Out For for more details.

Packaging -  ***
Mezco is capable of some amazing packaging, but it looks like FOX is keeping them fairly restricted to a pretty basic design with this line.  Knowing FOX, that's not surprising.

The only uniqueness on each package is the front sticker, which gives the name of the character.  The accessory info is on the back of every card with each character.

Sculpt - Mort, Mr. Weed ****; Lois, Cleveland, Tom Tucker ***1/2; Stewie ***
If you liked series 3, you're going to love series 4.  This line gets better with every release.

Now, some people will have characters they don't want.  Hey, I don't understand it either, but there are some so called fans that don't feel the need to own, oh, say, XXXL Stewie.  Hey, he's not high on my list, but I have to have them all.

The sculpt work on Mort, Mr. Weed and Cleveland is the best of the set.  Mort's expression is priceless, and fits his character perfectly.  The sculpted mouth is a smart move too, rather than trying to simply go with paint.

Weed's expression is great as well, in both versions.  You can almost hear his accent when you look at him.

I think Cleveland has turned out the best head sculpt of the main buddies, looking much better than I expected.  His chin is still a little to obvious and pronounced, but the proportions and scale between his various body parts is right on.

Lois is, well, Lois.  The standard expression works well with the stance, and I was surprised how well she stands on her own.  That's rare for a figure that also looks good suspended in a flying pose.

Tom Tucker has a slightly bland expression, but it works well for his 'news face'.  Now we have to get Diane Simmons to go along side him.

Fat Stewie leaves me a bit cold, simply because he's not really a variant I was waiting to get.  The sculpt works well though, and I like how the sculpted expression works with the articulation and included ice cream cone to allow you to pose him eating.

Paint - ***1/2
Mezco appears to have upped the QA on their paint operations, because the paint work here is above average once again.  There's still the occasional stray mark, and some of the more difficult colors have bleed here and there, but overall the work is great.

If you're looking for small details of course, you won't find them.  This isn't a cartoon with small details, but big strokes of obvious color in everything they do  But the critical areas - like Mr. Weed's eyebrows and moustache, or Stewie's tongue - are very clean and neat.

They've used the blue shadowing technique again on Lois' martial arts uniform.  I'm not a huge fan, but it's been growing on me.

Articulation - Mr. Weed, Tom Tucker ***1/2; Lois ***; Mort, Stewie, Cleveland **1/2
The level of articulation across this series varies quite a bit.

Weed and Tucker have quite a bit of useful articulation, including ball jointed necks, ball jointed shoulders, cut arms, cut wrists, and a cut waist.  The posing possibilities are pretty good with both of these guys.

Lois has surprisingly useful articulation as well, but lacks the ball jointed neck.  She has a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut wrists (where the hands pop on and off), a cut left arm, a cut waist and cut ankles.  She stands well thanks to the cut ankles.

Stewie has a cut neck, cut arms and cut waist.  He's not really designed for posing, which is not particularly surprising considering the character design.

Mort and Cleveland are a bit disappointing after Weed and Tucker.  They lack the ball jointed neck, just having a cut joint.  They do have the ball jointed shoulders, but lack any other arm articulation.  They replace the cut waist with a ball waist, but that's not really as useful as either the ball neck, or the additional cut joints on the arms.

Accessories - Mr Weed, Mort, Lois ***1/2; Stewie, Tom Tucker, Cleveland ***;
One of the best features of almost any cartoon line is the unlimited possibilities for accessories.  Smart companies like Palisades and Playmates exploit this - Mezco is a smart company.

Every one of these figures comes with some very cool accessories, often episode specific.  Let's start out with Mr. Weed, who comes with the sniper rifle, muffin (with one bite removed), and hypno-glasses mentioned on the package.  He also comes with Eduardo, his little friend, not mentioned on the package back, but hidden behind the sticker inside the bubble.  Not only are these an excellent set of choices for his accessories, but they all work well too - he can hold Eduardo and the rifle, and the glasses fit perfectly.

Cleveland has three accessories, and again, one of these is not mentioned on the package.  There's a big plate of Rice Krispie treats, with a sculpted handle on the bottom to allow him to hold them, and the clam trophy the neighborhood won in the Harvest Day Parade.  He also has a big frothy mug of beer hidden behind his sticker.  Adding the handle to the plate of treats was a welcome surprise, since accessories like these are pretty much useless if no one can hold them.

Fat Stewie (or XXXL Stewie) comes with his wagon to get around, and an ice cream cone.  The sculpt and articulation work so that he can appear to be eating the ice cream.  There's a peg on the cone that fits into a hole in his left hand.  The wagon is also sculpted to appear as though it's buckling under his weight, and both the wheels and handle move.

Mort has some more terrific character specific items, like the jousting pole from the episode Mr. Saturday Knight (which, coincidentally is the same episode that Mr. Weed died at Peter's house), the soap on a rope, and the hemmorrhiodal cream.  By the way, I had to look that word up in the dictionary, since my spell checker couldn't figure it out.  I had no idea there were two rr's AND two h's!

Tom Tucker has the fewest accessories with just two, but since one of those two is a whole 'nother character, I'm cutting him some slack.

He comes with his microphone - which I bet we see again with Trisha Takanawa in series 5 - and his poor son, Jake.  Jake suffers from a rare disorder...his face is on upside down.  He's also got a cut joint at the neck and shoulders, and an excellent sculpt.

Finally, there's Lethal Lois, with her deadly weapons.  She comes with a break apart set of concrete blocks, a break apart board, and extra set of fisted hands, and a display stand with a clear rod that holds her in the air in a flying kick pose.

Her hands pop on and off pretty easily, but the connectors are sturdy and thick, so breakage is unlikely.  I had to hollow out the hole in her butt a bit to allow the rod to fit, but once I did she was good to go. That wasn't nearly as much fun as it sounded.

Fun Factor - **
Family Guy isn't exactly a kid's cartoon.  If you thought the Simpsons wasn't really for kids - and I know lots of parents that felt that way - then you REALLY don't want them watching this show.  These are actually pretty fun toys, very similar in many ways to the Playmates World of Springfield line.  In fact, I'd say that Mezco has managed to take many of the better aspects of that line and incorporate them here, while improving in several areas.

Value - ***
You can get these as cheap as $10 each if you shop around - I have some sponsors below that have them at that price.  For this score I'm assuming around $11, which is also very possible, and considering the level of quality and number of accessories, that's a slightly better than average value in the specialty market.

Things to watch out for - 
I didn't have any real problems or issues.  If you're variant hunting, you'll want to keep your eyes peeled though.  There isn't a definitive list yet of the variants, although it appears as though besides the obvious Mr. Weed pink shirt/alternate eyes version (see the packaged photo of him to see his variant), there's also a different Mort expression and a different Lois expression.  There may also be Lois' with black and red belts, although that's not confirmed yet.

Overall -  Mort, Mr. Weed, Cleveland, Tom and Jake Tucker ***1/2; Lethal Lois  ***;  Fat Stewie **1/2
I'm not surprised that Fat Stewie ended up at the bottom of my list.  He's not a particularly interesting variant, and lacks the level of accessories, articulation, and visual impact that the others have.

The rest of the series is extremely good.  Lethal Lois wasn't my top choice, but like most women, the more I play around with her, the better she gets.  I'm particularly impressed that she looks good in the fighting stance, can stand on her own, and still looks good suspended on the display stand.  Okay, so she doesn't look quite as good in the air as on the ground, but it's still a pretty adaptable sculpt.

You have to have Cleveland of course, and while neither Mr. Weed or Tom Tucker are critical to the show, they make very complementary figures to the display.  I can see this line going 10 waves easy, if Mezco is smart about it.  With God, Trisha Takanawa, and what is sure to be my favorite all time Peter variant, Peter the No Trash Cougar, all coming in series 5, this line is looking good for a nice long run.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Mort, Mr. Weed, Tom Tucker, Cleveland ****; Lois ***1/2; Stewie ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Mr. Weed, Tom Tucker ***1/2; Lois ***; Mort, Stewie, Cleveland **1/2
Accessories - Mr Weed, Mort, Lois ***1/2; Stewie, Tom Tucker, Cleveland ***;
Fun Factor - **
Value - ***
Overall - Mort, Mr. Weed, Cleveland, Tom and Jake Tucker ***1/2; Lethal Lois  ***;  Fat Stewie **1/2

Where to Buy -
You can find these at specialty stores right now, or hit the following online sponsors:

- Amazing Toyz has the individuals for $10 - $11 each, with the full set for just $60.

- Alter Ego Comics has the set for $61.

- CornerStoreComics has the individuals for $11 each, or the set of 6 for $65.

- Killer Toys has the set for $70.

- OMGToys has the individuals for $12 each.

- YouBuyNow has the singles for $12 each as well.

Related Links -
There's been a fair share of reviews so far:

- the most recent release was the series 1.5 family boxed set.

- Here's my reviews of wave 1, wave 2, and wave 3.

- also, I reviewed both the Peter and Lois two pack, and the Peter and Chicken two pack.

- Finally, there's the review of the large talking Stewie.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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